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Urban Water Systems In Transition

Bell, SJ; (2012) Urban Water Systems In Transition. Emergence: Complexity and Organization , 14 (1) 45 - 58.

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Abstract

Modern cities are dependent on vast infrastructure systems to deliver a constant supply of drinking water, and sewerage systems for removing surface and waste water. This paper investigates urban water infrastructure as a complex system. Existing systems are at a point of criticality as growth in demand for water outstrips local water resources. This represents a potential bifurcation point from which alternative structures and patterns of organization could emerge over coming decades. One possible pathway for future urban water systems relies upon the development of new sources of water, including desalination. This pathway continues to expand the boundaries of urban water systems, increasing entropy outside the system whilst requiring higher energy input to maintain order within the system. An alternative pathway involves the emergence of distributed systems of water collection and reuse to meet non-potable demand. This could result in increasing complexity across the city as non-potable water systems emerge at household and neighborhood scales.

Type:Article
Title:Urban Water Systems In Transition
Publisher version:http://www.emergence.org/
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

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